Zuma denies apartheid measures

Zuma denies apartheid measures

BERLIN - The Associated Press
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma denied his government had embraced apartheid measures in a crackdown on protesting mineworkers a month after police shot dead 34 strikers.

Zuma insisted the state was not taking sides in the spate of unrest hitting the key mining sector after ordering police raids on workers at the Marikana platinum mine amid threats of a general strike.

“Government respects the constitutional rights of Marikana residents but has to promote peace and order,” the president said in a statement. “Government cannot allow a situation where people march in the streets carrying dangerous weapons. We cannot allow them to intimidate others or incite violence.”

But he added that the living conditions of workers remained unacceptable and said they have a right to engage their employers on wages or working conditions.

The troubles at Lonmin, the world’s third largest platinum producer, over a wage dispute in which 45 people have died, have spread to surrounding mines as well as a Gold Fields mine near Johannesburg.